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[ACTIVITY] 7 Questions To Ask Yourself At The Beginning Of The Semester


If you are going to start, make it a good start.

I know… “Duh!” Who doesn’t know that, right? But yet and still many people fail to set themselves up properly. The following questions are ideal for helping students, educators, parents, and other professionals working with young people get off to a great start at the beginning of the school or program year.

You and the group you are working with should answer these questions in writing. They will make for a great group discussion.

1. Why am I here? Why am I going to school, work, or participating in this program?

If your answer is “Because my mom made me,” or “I have to,” I have one word for you: lame.

Your why is your single point of focus. It’s different then a goal, it’s the reason you remain motivated and determined to meet your goals. It’s what drives you to do what you do. The stronger your why, the higher your level of determination and motivation. So, you gotta have a strong answer to this question. It should be your reason, not someone else’s.

Your why could start off like this:

  • I go to school because…
  • I go to work because…
  • My main reason for doing this is…


2. What is my main goal for this year? What are 3-5 immediate actions steps that I can take to get closer to my goal?

“If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time.” Ever heard that before? It’s 100 percent true. Your main goal is your primary target. Keep in mind that people often have a goal, but no actions steps to go with it. That doesn’t make any sense Executing a plan full of action steps will greatly increase the chances of hitting your target.

3. What is the main thing I want to improve? What are 3 actions steps that will help me to improve? 

Get better.

That’s what it’s all about—improving on your skills and accomplishments. And remember, the main person you are competing against is… YOU.

4. What is something new and exciting that I want to learn? How will it help me to get better and be happier in life?

You need something to keep life from getting stale. New and exciting things give your life a jolt—a shot of energy that can replenish your motivation and determination. Not mention, all of the new possibilities and opportunities that could come out of your new experience.

5. What do you dislike most about what you have to get done? How will you keep that from distracting or stopping you?

A lot of times we just complain about what we don’t like instead of creating a plan to change or deal with it. Not cool.

Be careful. Your dislike’s can really drain your motivation and deplete your determination. It’s best to identify them and create a plan that helps you to deal with them in an effective manner. Dislikes aren’t going anywhere. There will always be something you dislike. The secret is to keep it from becoming an excuse not to do what you need to do.

6. What two resources will I do a better job of using?

Last semester, a student was complaining to me that she was having trouble finding scholarships. I asked her if she checked in the career center or guidance office. Of course, she said, “No.”

I responded, “Really?! Well, go there and ask for help.”

She went there and found all kinds of books and websites that helped her apply for scholarships. Everybody—from students to professionals—has people and other sources of information that we could make better use of and when we do, it makes life a little bit easier.

7. What are my expectations for this year?

Your expectations play a major role in how things turn out for you. Why? Because of the effect your expectations have on your actions and decisions.

Duncan Nugget® #311:
If you are convinced ahead of time that something is going to be bad or good, many times it will be. Not because of the experience, it’s because of the amazing effects of your expectations.

(Click here to watch Duncan Nugget® #311 on video) 

So, make time to think about your expectations and the possible impact on your desired outcome. Remember, if you answer these seven questions in writing you’ll be off to a great start.

Million-Dollar Question:
What are you going to do to make sure you get off to a great start? 


A List Of Soft Skills

Click here for a list of soft skills definitions, and behavioral indicators.

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